Spring Valley – Rules Information
The Club has established this page to provide one starting point for all the rules information you may require. This is a timely addition as we transition to the significantly new golf rules applying from 1st January, 2019.
On past occasions, the Club has engaged the services of Golf Victoria staff to present rule seminars for interested members. As an introduction to the new rules, GV has suggested that players take advantage of the information and explanations on various websites. With the right promotion, the rules information will reach many more players. There should also be greater consistency of the information provided and a better understanding by players.
This page has descriptions and links to many sources of rules related information, including videos. The topics covered are:
- Major Changes to the the Rules from 1st January 2019
- Rules Publications
- Local Rules, including Players Edition Rule Books
- Level 1 test and referee qualifications
- Questions and rulings
If you have any queries about the rules, we would encourage you to consider any of the following available actions:
- If you are playing in club competition and you are uncertain after discussing the circumstances with your fellow competitors or partner, you may play a second ball for the remainder of the hole (Rule 3-3a in stroke play)) and check the correct score with the Golf Service Centre staff, captain or other official when you finish your round and before submitting your scorecard.
- If you are playing in an event where a referee is allocated to your match or group, please use the referee’s expertise.
- If at any time a query arises as to the application of the rules (whether in a discussion at the bar or a hypothetical situation prompted by something during a round), please forward your query to the GSC or the Club office and a response will be provided. It may be featured in the regular column on this site.
- If you have any comments about a rule, you may present an opinion to the R&A for consideration as part of the ongoing review of the rules. In that case, it may be beneficial to check with Golf Victoria and Golf Australia as to whether submissions regarding that rule have been made or are in progress.
After releasing draft new rules and engaging in a lengthy period of public consultation, the R&A and the USGA have released the text of The Rules of Golf for 2019. These bodies and Golf Australia have all developed websites which explain the background to the rewrite, the most significant changes and the style and format of the rules.
There are also videos demonstrating such practices as dropping, putting green procedures and penalty area arrangements. The sites are:
There will be three types of official publication available for referencing The Rules of Golf for 2019. They are:
Players’ Edition of the Rules of Golf, which is the default publication to be provided to all golfers. This book does not reproduce the wording of the rules, but describes the typical situations faced by players and the consequences. It is designed to be a convenient and ready reference. It will be available for all members by mid-September.
Rule Books contain a complete text of the rules and will generally be supplied for the use of Golf Service Centre staff, Club officials, Match Committee, competition administrators and referees. Those who have a particular interest in the rules may want to obtain a copy from the Club. It will be available by mid-September.
Official Guide to the Rules of Golf is a compendium that provides:
- A full text of the rules
- Interpretations (previously known as “Decisions”)
- Committee procedures such as local rules, course marking and competition conditions
- Modified rules for players with disabilities
The Club will have copies of the Official Guide to the Rules of Golf available for use by the above staff, officials and interested parties. If you would like a copy, you should arrange an order through the Club, Golf Victoria or Golf Australia. It will be available by mid-November.
The various publications are further described at www.rules.golf mentioned above.
Reproduced below are the Club’s local rules disclosed on the scorecard and those additional local rules displayed on the noticeboard.
Local Rules (per the scorecard)
DEFINITIONS AND LOCAL RULES
Local Rules and Temporary Local Rules on the noticeboard are to be read in conjunction with the Rules of Golf.
- Out of bounds: All ground beyond the club fencing is out of bounds and Rule 18.2b applies.
- Penalty areas (Rule 17):
- Yellow stakes define yellow penalty areas.
- Red stakes and/or lines define red penalty areas.
- Whilst playing the 12thhole, the pondage is to be treated as a red penalty area and whilst playing the 13thhole the pondage is to be treated as a yellow penalty area and Rule 17.1d applies.
- Abnormal course condition no play zone: The following areas are defined as no play zones and ground under repair and free relief must be taken from interference by the no play zone under Rule 16.1f:
- Garden beds surrounding the clubhouse and in the car park.
- Those areas the margins of which are defined by white stakes, white lines, ground under repair signage and accompanying rope.
- The apron surrounding the practice putting green. The apron is defined as the narrow strip of grass that runs between the putting green and the paved walkways extending from the front of the clubhouse to the 1st The apron ceases where the strip of grass broadens into wider areas.
- Staked trees and shrubs: Staked trees and staked shrubs are no play zones andare ground under repair. If the ball lies in a no play zone within a penalty area, the ball must not be played as it lies and relief must be taken from interference by the no play zone under Rule 17.1e.
- Immovable obstructions close to the putting green: Rule 16.1b applies to immovable obstructions close to the putting greens. In addition to the types of interference described in Rule 16.1a, interference also exists if an immovable obstruction is:
- on the player’s line of play,
- within two club-lengths of the putting green, and
- within two club-lengths of the ball.
(Exception – There is no relief under this Local Rule if the player chooses a line of play that is clearly unreasonable.)
- Washaways in bunkers: Washaways in bunkers are considered abnormal course conditions and relief may be taken in accordance with Rule 16.1c.
- Stakes and roped areas: Some areas may be roped off with wooden or metal stakes to direct traffic or prohibit the entrance of carts or buggies and are not ground under repair unless defined by Local Rule 3. If the stakes and ropes are not defining ground under repair, they are movable obstructions and the player may take relief under Rule 15.2.
- Stakes and guards: Stakes and guards at trees and shrubs and stakes defining penalty areas and ground under repair are immovable obstructions and Rule 16.1 applies.
- Stroke and Distance:When a player’s ball has not been found or is known or virtually certain to be out of bounds the player may proceed under the Stroke and Distance Local Rule for a penalty of two strokes, rather than proceeding under stroke and distance. This Local Rule is not available if a provisional ball is in play. See club notice board and website for full details of the Local Rule.
Note: The Stroke and Distance Local Rule will not be available in Major and Special Events. Refer to event conditions displayed on the club notice board and website for details.
Penalties for breach of local rules:
Unless otherwise noted, the penalty for a breach of a Local Rule is the general penalty (stroke play – two strokes, match play – loss of hole).
Course toilet facilities are located near the 4thgreen.
Distances marked on sprinkler heads are measured to the front of the greens.
Golf Victoria and the Club encourage all players with an interest in the rules to complete the short study necessary to qualify as a level 1 (formerly Club level) referee. This is whether or not you wish to complete the test or record your successful result with Golf Victoia.
Even though there will be significant changes to the rules from 1st January, it is recommended to complete level 1 under the current rules in place. This will provide a foundation from which to build an understanding of the changes.
The reading and test can be completed online and it involves 34 questions to be answered in one hour.
As a level 1 referee you may want to assist the Club in officiating in major events such as the Club Championship finals or other board events. If you would like the Club to be aware of your qualification, please let the Club know and we can update the list below.
After completing level 1, you may want to progress to become a level 2 (formerly State level) referee by completing the written and practical tests on the rules and related decisions. Workshops for those wanting to qualify as level 2 referees are generally conducted by Golf Victoria on two occasions each year.
Spring Valley Golf Club Qualified Referees
Level 2- Mark Dunstan, Damian Willcox
If you have had any rules uncertainty lately or a tricky ruling, please let us know and we can include a description on the website page for the benefit of all members.
Note: Answers are based on the current rules. We will consider numerous examples under the new rules as we approach 1st January, 2019.
(Q) During these wet months, a ball was pitched into the front bank of the 18th green and it rolled back a short distance off the green. The player wanted to putt the ball but there was a nasty pitch mark in front of the ball and off the green. Can it be repaired?
(A) No. If repaired, the player would incur a two stroke penalty (loss of hole in match play) for a breach of Rule 13-2 which prohibits a player from improving his line of play by eliminating irregularities of surface. Note that damage to the putting green caused by the impact of a ball may be repaired, whether or not the player’s ball is on the putting green (Rule 16-1c).
(Q) After a sudden deluge, a player’s ball finished in a large puddle in the bunker on the right of the 12th green. He correctly identified that he was entitled to relief (Rule 25-1) from an abnormal ground condition, being casual water. However, it was not possible for the player to get complete relief at any point in the bunker. What must he do?
(A) If complete relief is impossible, the player may drop the ball in the bunker as near as possible to where it lay, but not nearer the hole, on a spot which affords maximum available relief. For example he may accept a location where the ball can be dropped onto dry sand and he is required to take his stance in shallow water. The other available option (under penalty of one stroke) is to drop the ball outside the bunker, on a line with no limit, from the hole through the point where the ball lay (Rule 25-1b(ii)).
(Q) A player’s tee shot on the 13th hole is hit low and right towards the distant bank and trees. He indicates that he is going to hit a provisional ball, which he flushes (typically) to a perfect position on the fairway. After a brief hunt amongst the trees, he declares the ball lost and moves to address his provisional ball. A fellow competitor in his group kindly locates the player’s ball on the bank within the water hazard and within five minutes of the player commencing his search. Should the player proceed to play his provisional ball?
(A) The player has correctly played a provisional ball because his first ball may be lost outside a water hazard. Note that a provisional ball may only be played where a ball may be lost outside a water hazard or may be out of bounds (Rule 27-2). However, once the original ball is found, the player cannot play the provisional ball. He must proceed by playing the ball as it lies or adopting one of the options under Rule 26-1 (Water Hazards) on penalty of one stroke, being (a) playing from the tee or (b) dropping the ball behind the hazard on a line from the hole through the last point where the ball crossed the margin of the hazard. “Declaring” a ball lost is not a concept recognised by the rules and is of no consequence.